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Screening for Mental Health on its own will not change health outcomes

May 05
The web is full of online mental health assessments.   These assessments differ in a variety of ways; some require the individual to pre-identify their problem area, some are not clinically based, some are free, some don’t identify the severity of the problem, and some of the sites offer general information about mental health problems. All the assessments have one thing in common; they do not link the assessment to any care plan.   There is no immediate link to a personalized clinically based action plan for self-care or collaborative care with a mental healthcare profession. Basically, you are just left hanging.
Don Thomson, President of SOS Resource Group, which specializes in analyzing health, wellness and disability management services, says “an assessment that tells you have a problem is like someone knocking on your door telling you your house is on fire and walking away.  The assessment just puts a “spotlight” on your problem and really does nothing else.” After reviewing FeelingBetterNow® which immediately links its clinically based assessment to a personalized action plan, Mr. Thomson said “FeelingBetterNow not only tells you your house is on fire, it also calls the fire department, hands you a fire extinguisher, and tells you the fireman are on their way to put the fire out.  FeelingBetterNow® doesn’t just identify a problem; it provides you with simple, actionable steps to get the help you need when you need it.
Mr. Thomson’s analogy is supported by a 2008 CMAJ Study “Screening and case- finding instruments for depression: a meta analysis.” The study concludes that assessments alone do not change outcomes.   To impact outcomes, you must link the assessment to a clinically based intervention be it self- help and/or collaborative care with a mental health professional.

The full CMAJ article is available here: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/178/8/997


Full Article Link: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/178/8/997